An addictive alternative to your usual salsa, Peruvian Ají Verde Recipe gets its gorgeous green hue from cilantro, jalapeño, huacatay paste (Peruvian black mint), and scallion. The flavors meld together with a bit of lime juice, olive oil, mayo, and cotija (or parmesan) in a creamy sauce that's sure to be a new favorite!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Recipe Inspiration
This is the companion recipe to the Baked Peruvian Style Meatballs with Ají Verde I posted a few days ago! This somewhat spicy, salty, savory, herbal sauce is so creamy and delicious... and guess what? It's super quick and easy to make!
If you have followed Beyond Mere Sustenance for any length of time, you probably know of my love affair with Peru. This classic Peruvian ají verde is one of many that may appear on your table if you ask your server for "ají." Occasionally a menu might indicate a companion sauce, but not typically. I guess that's part of the fun? 😀
We first had ají verde sauce in Cuzco at a small family-owned café. The condiment was served with fried yuca root. It was love at first bite. Our server was gracious enough to tell us (in Spanish!) the ingredients, and I've been making it ever since!
🌶 What is Peruvian Ají Verde Sauce?
Peruvian Ají Verde Sauce is a very popular condiment found throughout Peru. While many people refer to it as a Peruvian "hot sauce," I find it quite mild. Maybe that's because I spent 22 years in New Mexico eating hot Hatch green chile?
This ají requires
IMHO 2 less-than-common ingredients: Ají amarillo paste and huacatay (black mint) paste. Say what? Don't get concerned quite yet... Many American versions of ají verde rely only on jalapeño peppers for the heat (and the green color), I highly recommend the addition of the Peruvian chile pastes.
Latin foods markets in the US and abroad have finally begun carrying Peruvian ingredients. It took them long enough. Peruvian cooking is definitely "trending," and it's about time they start to stock some of these fabulous ingredients. Additionally, you can find ají amarillo paste, huacatay, and a mixed sampler that also includes ají panca.
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🍗 Pairing Suggestions
- Baked Peruvian Style Meatballs with Ají Verde
- Savory Peruvian Quinoa Breakfast Bowls
- Peruvian Chicken Heart Anticuchos
- Slow Cooker Peruvian Lamb Stew
- Butterflied and Grilled Peruvian-Style Chicken
- Peruvian Chicken and Rice (Arroz Con Pollo)
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- cotija - Feta is a good substitute.
- ají amarillo paste - Available in the international foods section in many markets, and online.
- huacatay paste - Available in the international foods section in many markets, and online.
- lime juice - Please use fresh!
- vinegar - White wine or other mild vinegar.
- olive oil
- sea salt
I highly recommend finding and using the Peruvian chile paste and black mint paste. Your resulting sauce will be much closer to an authentic Peruvian ají verde sauce.
This really is a quick (and very simple) recipe once you've gathered the ingredients... no cooking! Simply wash a bunch of cilantro, cut the stems at the base of the leaves, and add it and all the other ingredients to your food processor. Pulse until smooth.
💭 Tips and FAQ
How long can I keep my ají verde? This Peruvian ají verde sauce keeps in the refrigerator for several days.
What is the best mayonnaise to use? I use a good olive oil mayonnaise or one I make myself. Avoid Miracle Whip. It will bring flavors to the sauce that don't work well.
Most of the calories in ají verde sauce come from the mayonnaise. I may try substituting Greek yogurt (as I've done in other recipes) to see how it works out!
So what are you waiting for? This ají is so versatile: You'll love it on simple roasted chicken or grilled meats, as a dip for fried yucca, roasted potatoes, even chips (if you're so inclined). To make a party of it all, serve my Fermented Peruvian Red Pepper Salsa alongside.
With the holidays fast upon us, I think you'll agree, this is one condiment that you'll want to add to your "repertoire!" Dump the ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth. It'll keep for days in the refrigerator, but I'm guessing it won't last that long...
- 1 bunch cilantro, cut at the base of the leaves (fine stems are okay)
- ½ to 2 jalapeños, stemmed and seeded, cut in chunks
- 2 scallions, green parts only, cut in 2" pieces
- 2 tablespoons cotija (feta is a good substitute) cut in chunks
- 1 tablespoon ají amarillo paste (more or less to taste)
- 2 teaspoons huacatay paste
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon white wine (or other mild) vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
- Add all ingredients to the bowl of a large food processor.
- Pulse until smooth.
- Taste for seasoning and texture. (Add salt if necessary. The cheese is salty) Add a bit more olive oil for a thinner consistency.
Keeps in the refrigerator for several days.
I use a good olive oil mayonnaise or one I make myself. This is where most of the calories come from. I may try substituting Greek yogurt (as I've done in other recipes) to see how it works out!
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 35 calories per tablespoon +/-; 0 g protein; 1 g carbohydrates; 3 g fat. Note: Based on a 1 ¼ cup batch and about 20 tablespoons. This is just a reference!
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Serving Size:1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 35Total Fat: 3gCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 0g